INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Some of the hottest tech items to have right now are voice activated, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
But security experts say users give up some safety in exchange for the convenience they offer.
The main concern, they say, is that these devices are always listening to private conversations in homes.
“It’s like having a microphone in your home listening 100 percent of the time to your conversation,” said security expert Mark Pugh with Greenwood-based iServ Pro.
Pugh says the devices are fun for users asking for music or the forecast, but potentially dangerous for those talking about money, medical issues or other personal affairs.
That data, he says, is sent to an Amazon or Google server.
“Their data is protected, obviously, but it’s still out there in the cloud and can be hacked,” Pugh said.
The devices can be muted so they’re not listening, but Pugh says that may defeat the purpose of having one.
However, the advice to stay safe is pretty extreme: don’t have any private conversation in your own home that you wouldn’t have in public.
“A lot of private information is available on the internet, but now they’ve actually got voice recordings of you saying something, changes the game,” Pugh said.
There’s even a current court case in Arkansas where police requested Amazon to release possible recordings from inside a home where an alleged murder took place.
Pugh says users should mute the device for privacy and watch security videos to learn other measures, like deleting stored conversations.
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